A former army colonel marched into Swaffham over the weekend before unveiling a battle plan which he hopes will help him succeed in his mission to become Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner.

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Voters in Norfolk will go to the polls on November 15 to elect their preferred candidate for the £70,000 a year commissioner who will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set police budgets.

Jamie Athill, Conservative candidate, launched his campaign offensive in the West Norfolk market town on Saturday.

Mr Athill said his manifesto summed up his approach to the post which he insisted was a “big improvement over the old system of police authorities” and encouraged “direct democratic involvement”.

He said: “This is a change for the better, best delivered by a team that will bring Norfolk criminal justice, victim support and business experience to focus on the frontline. We’ll be up front with the people of Norfolk, replacing the appointed police authority’s closed shop with elected openness and accountability, so we keep Norfolk one of the safest counties in England.”

Mr Athill, who said people should feel equally safe wherever they live in Norfolk, said his priorities would be to:

Improving Norfolk Constabulary’s public accountability, so people understand how the police help them and how they can help the police.

Underpinning the chief constable’s operational independence so as to get the best policing delivered by well-trained, well-motivated police officers, PCSOs and civilian staff.

Supporting the organisations and charities that help victims of crime and reduce reoffending with business partnerships that enable, not privatise, these public institutions, by putting the victim first.

The former Gresham’s School pupil insisted public consultation will “sit at the heart of this new job” and vowed to meet the public and listen to their views through a number of means, including surgeries and presentations.

He said his first priority for public consultation would be the budget and he insisted police would continue to answer to the law, not him.

He added that he planned to appoint a deputy to be a “victims’ champion” and to work with troubled families, vulnerable adults and young offenders.

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